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We first discovered Brasero Hardi during a winter Dishcrawl and the six hour marinated spare ribs on top of pork lardon mashed potatoes and house smoked salmon on top of horseradish panna cotta was definitely a highlight of the evening.
Tsukiji Fish Market is the central hub for the buying and selling of fish and seafood in Tokyo. Anything that lives in the sea can be found here – from above average quality to the most premium sashimi grade kind of stuff that is not only hard to find but costs an arm and a leg too. There are also fish auctions that are held here. If you’ve seen Jiro Dreams of Sushi, the scene where Jiro’s son attends the tuna auction at the market is pretty spot on.
Finally. It’s come time for us to share with you the legendary, all-encompassing, truly epic cabane a sucre au pied de cochon experience. Is there anything else like it? Probably not. After signing up a little later than we meant to for this season’s apple themed menu, we got a call from PDC two months after we were waitlisted asking if we wanted to fill in for a last minute cancelled reservation in the middle of the week.
It’s been more than a month since we went to the Tuck Shop to celebrate. I for one, have secured an internship for the summer at an agency I really had my heart set on! Bubbling over with happiness and excitement, Alex insisted that we head out for a couple of drinks and something good to eat.
Yuukai has been one of my favourite restaurants in Montreal since I moved here 6 or 7 years ago. What brought me there initially was the elusive search for a bring your own wine sushi restaurant with good sushi and affordable prices. Restaurants with all of these properties are quite a rare breed in Montreal and Yuukai quickly became one of my go to restaurants.
Guu Sakabar is exactly what it should be. It’s loud, it’s busy, it’s crazy and it’s delicious. We showed up on a Saturday evening and waited about an hour and 15 mins for a table. This seems par for the course at any of the trendier restaurants in Toronto. The Sakabar is located on Bloor street close to Bathurst while the original Izakaya is located on Church street.
Mikasa has locations across the city, including Laval, the Rive-Sud, Marche Centrale and downtown Montreal. The latter spot is probably the most well known among Montrealers as it was the scene of a fatal freak accident back in 2009. The restaurant is relatively low key and offers decent sushi for a little above average sushi prices. We headed to the spot by Marche Centrale on Acadie which is a little trickier to find as the entrance is tucked around the back of a compound mini strip mall. We’ve been here a few times before but mostly for the lunch special.
After hearing so much hype and buzz around Les Enfants Terribles, we finally made it over last week. Excited and ready to be impressed by the culinary prowess we’d heard so much about, it was unfortunate that after so much build up and positive expectations, we were let down. To start off, we made reservations for 9:30 pm only to be seated forty-five minutes later. That in itself is unacceptable. I understand that the restaurant is busy and it is a Friday night, but so are most other restaurants in the city and from my experience, this has only ever happened one other time. Don’t restaurants have a system through which they organize the amount of seating they have available, the timing of those coming and going so that there aren’t these kinds of frustrating waits? Right off the bat, it was just a bad start to the evening. Most people I’ve spoken to about their tolerance for wait time averages around 20-30 minutes, and 30 minutes is reserved for restaurants that they really, really want to go to. This made the rest of the evening difficult to enjoy despite pleasant company of my dining counterpart. Note that I’ve tried my best to judge the food impartially.
Leméac is similar to the Montreal classic L’Expresse in that they are both French bistro type restaurants serving excellent fare for reasonable prices. Leméac is a little less stuffy in terms of atmosphere and just as classy. It also has a great terrasse that is open air in the summertime and equipped with heated lamps for the colder days of winter. We went for the after ten menu where you get an entrée and a main for $25 (such an amazing steal) and you would be surprised at how generous the offerings are and how much variety there is to choose from!
Les Filles Du Roy is the restaurant of the Pierre du Calvet hotel. Located just steps away from Le Bremner and a few steps more from the Old Port beach (under construction in anticipation for next summer), the place can be easily missed. The novelty of the experience is probably one of the best parts of eating here – the building itself has been standing since 1725, so right off the bat you know that the architecture and the aesthetic of the place is going to be older, or shall we say vintage. Scattered throughout are remnants of life in the 18th and 19th centuries, from Victorian style paintings to mounted game to antique furniture, rugs and draperies. Towards the end of the reception area are several talking birds – if you’re lucky, you might be greeted with a squawk of a hello as you pass by the washrooms.
I passed by ShuRaku quite a few times during my last few trips to Vancouver and it didn’t stand out to me from the outside. When I travel for work I always have to stay downtown and so my options for restaurants are somewhat limited. ShuRaku came up on a Friday night when I was looking for a really great sushi dinner and a few Japanese beers.
As soon as I walked in I was immediately impressed with the interior and ambiance. I have to go out of my way to say that the service at ShuRaku was probably the best and most friendly I’ve had in years. Even more charming was that it appeared that the entire staff spoke Japanese quite well – even those who looked born and bred Canadian. Orders were authentically shouted to the kitchen and I had a chat with one of the sushi chefs who made excellent suggestions.
I started with the Chef’s Choice Sashimi along with a Mackerel Roll and the Volcano Roll. I was really hungry so I followed that with a Salmon Tartar with Crispy Seaweed Tempura and the coveted Toro Sashimi, a specialty cut of Tuna Belly (the fattiest part). Vancouver magazine described the sashimi at ShuRaku as “achingly fresh” and I can say this is no hyperbole, it really is. Great choice for lunch or dinner.
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Di Bao is immediately striking what with two great big Chinese drums flanking its outer entrance (diners are free to pick up the drum sticks and hit the drums as hard as they can) , elaborately dressed waitresses (headdresses and formal Chinese gowns), and the glimmering gold emperor’s chair at the front of the restaurant. The plating at this restaurant is most impressive: catching a glimpse of other tables with food already served, I couldn’t wait to see what the set menu we had pre-ordered had in store.
The Oyster Bar is on the Gourmet Food floor of the Bellavita complex by the Taipei City Hall MRT station. It boasts a very sleek look especially for a food court kiosk restaurant. Their specialty as you can probably guess, is oysters. We ordered two Ecailles oysters that were said to have a fruity taste – and boy, did they! Never had an oyster with such a unique taste that’s for sure.
We made reservations at Daniel Boulud’s db Bistro Moderne, one of the several celebrity restaurants at the Shoppes at the Marina Bay Sands. For your information, their roster includes Mario Batali’s Pizzeria and Osteria Mozza (actually tried to make reservations there but they were booked up for the next two days), Tetsuya Wakuda’s Waku Ghin, Wolfgang Puck’s Cut and Guy Savoy’s self titled restaurant.
Calling San Francisco’s financial district home is just the first of many unconventional characteristics of Wayfare Tavern. I came in early (6pm) on a Wednesday evening – without a reservation –
thinking hoping that I would be spared a walk in place at the bar, a table, the floor… anywhere. Not recommended! This place is extremely popular right now and was packed to the brim as soon as I set foot inside.
The Sheraton Hotel (Lai-Lai Fan Dien) houses a number of renowned restaurants, including the Japanese Momoyama. Just a few steps away from the Shandao Temple MRT Station, the hotel is conveniently located. We ordered a set menu that included a variety of savory items, starting off with a sour vinaigrette salad with raw salmon and scallops which was really great – I loved it.
For lunch, we went to the Yamato restaurant for some Japanese cuisine. Whetting our appetites with a plate of crunchy marinated burdock roots, we eagerly waited for the the deluxe sashimi assortment. It was a nice mix of different elements that are harder to find as fresh in places like Montreal. The squid was very tender and chewy, the tuna and salmon melted in your mouth. As for the tempura shrimp, mushrooms, sweet potatoes and asparagus, each item was deep fried to perfection. The tea kettle soup was one of my favorites of the entire meal – it was tasty and full of nutrients, being composed of the juices of clams and mushrooms and a hint of lemon. Served piping hot, the tea kettle is served with a miniature cup that rests on top – you flip it down and use it to drink the broth out of. I thought it was a compact way to serve the dish and an aesthetically pleasing one too.
In North America, the term ‘buffet’ usually brings to mind a low brow, sort of pedestrian dining experience. Here, in Asia, it is quite the opposite. Some of the best restaurants in Taipei are buffet style – Shin Yeh is a good example. Offering all-you-can-eat Japanese cuisine, there is a wealth of foods and drink to choose from. At the drink bar, there is Calpis (sweet white colored drink), white and red wine, plum vinegar wine, sake, Taiwanese beer, fruit juices, hot and cold tea and coffee. There is a sashimi bar that includes the largest oysters I have ever seen, trays of fried rice, tempura shrimp and vegetables, soba noodles, stir fried oolong noodles, tea kettle soup, steamed eggs, sushi… the list goes on. The pictures speak for themselves.
Mitsui is elegant, sophisticated and chic. With slick black granite floors and tables, stylish wood/glass partitions and an understated, minimalistic decor, the restaurant is known to cater to celebrities, mobsters and famous politicians as well as the local elite. The service is impeccable here. The ratio of the wait staff to the clientele is almost one to one – that is how well taken care of each individual at the restaurant is. Or at least that’s how it feels, and that’s what counts. The minute we sat down, we got bowls of tea, wet towels to clean our hands with and additional cutlery to match what we ordered. Our bags and jackets, leaning on the backs of our seats, had black bags put over them so as to ensure nothing would get dirty.
Every summer since 2008, St. Catherine has been closed off from Amherst to Papineau to create a car-free zone. Encouraging pedestrian foot traffic and the emergence of a multitude of terrasses, the Gay Village is known for its vibrant community and colorful events. Steak Frites, being located at the center of all the commotion is appropriately equipped to handle almost any size of a crowd, with a private party room to boot. Elegantly decorated and dimly lit, the ambiance is cool yet inviting. Despite arriving ten minutes after our reservation time, we were asked to wait another twenty five minutes. Otherwise, the service was great – the servers were courteous and attentive.The specialty is steak, so it only make sense that the menu is composed primarily of it. Every main comes with a house salad, green beans and all-you-can-eat fries. We ordered the chevre-chaud, St. Paul, the duck confit (which was exceptionally tender), salmon, the steak frites in 7 oz. as well as the 9 oz.